When Maryse Gregoire left Haiti in 1971, she was preparing to get married in the United States and start a new life. Years later, her son would become ill and was near death. Her prayers to save him literally changed her own life, she said. She promised God that if he survived, she would always help others. And that's exactly what happened.
Now, the product analyst, who has worked at Northbrook-based Allstate for 39 years, recently won Outstanding Employee Volunteer of the Year award for her many years of service to the community.
"It is by the grace of God that I am able to do that," Gregoire said. "It is my commitment and love for God that has empowered me."
In the early 1970s, she had just finished college in Haiti, but when she came here, she had a hard time with English. She applied for a variety of jobs, but didn't land anything until Allstate hired her, she said.
"I made up my mind then that I would work very hard," she said.
After she married, she had a son who later became very sick. She said she prayed to God that if he lived, she would serve Him any way should could. That's when she became active in various community organizations.
In fact, last year she volunteered for 446 hours to help to raise thousands of dollars for Catholic Charismatic Renewal Center in Chicago, where she also serves as president. She also coordinated two major fundraisers that raised $7,000 as vice president of Concerned Haitian Americans of Illinois, and another $5,000 by giving talks at St. Mary's Church.
Gregoire also was named 2009 Allstate Volunteer of the Year and a 2010 Jefferson Awards Champion, a national recognition that honors community and public service in America.
"It was the land of opportunity and I found out that it really was," she said.
Aiming to help kids
Marc and Jaime Ginsberg, owners of Body Werks Physical Therapy in Arlington Heights, are marking the 10th anniversary of the company. As part of that, they are launching a new division of Body Werks called Kid Werks, a health and wellness program targeting childhood obesity, self esteem and nutritional guidance.
Robert Zengeler Sr., Tom Zengeler, president of Zengeler Cleaners, and Tom's son Andrew Zengeler, accepted the Seven Seals Award, the highest civilian honor awarded by Veterans' organizations at a recent Libertyville Rotary Sunrise meeting. Zengeler's has stores in Deerfield, Hubbard Woods, Northfield, Winnetka, Long Grove, two stores in Libertyville and the company's headquarters store in Northbrook.
VW Credit Inc. and Volkswagen Group of America executives, including Christian Dahlheim, VCI Chief Financial Officer; Tim Mahoney, Volkswagen of America executive chief product and marketing officer; Mark Del Rosso, Audi of America Chief Operating Officer; Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler and others were on hand last week for the grand opening of the 30,000-square-foot expansion in Libertyville.
Timothy P. Walbert, chairman, president and CEO of Deerfield-based Horizon Pharma Inc. is in New York today to speak at the 15th Annual BIO CEO and Investor Conference. ... J. Patrick Gallagher Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in Itasca, is heading to New York on Wednesday to speak at the annual Bank of America Merrill Lynch Insurance Conference. ... John Ginascol, vice president of Nutrition Supply Chain at Abbott, has been elected to the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management board.
Les Rolsky of Schaumburg, a senior account manager at Des Plaines Office Equipment, received the James Ballee Award as the Most Outstanding Member of 2012 from the Elk Grove Village-based GOA Regional Business Association. ... Elgin resident Andrew Minehart, an Edward Jones financial adviser in Elgin for the past 13 years, was named a principal with the firm's holding company, the Jones Financial Companies LLP. He is one of 37 individuals chosen from more than 42,000 associates across the United States and Canada to join the firm's 336 principals.
Justin Eggar, owner of Eggar Insurance Agency in Geneva, has hired Matt Del Giudice as a licensed insurance producer. Del Giudice is also on the board of directors for the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. ... Jeffrey Joy has been appointed president and CEO of IlliniCare Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene Corp. in Westmont. He reports to Daniel Parietti, senior vice president of Health Plan Operations at Centene. ... Angela Bentsen joins Silver Connections as a senior care Consultant for the Naperville, Aurora and DuPage County region. She was the executive director of Senior Home Sharing in Wheaton for the last four years. She is active in many senior advocacy groups, including the DuPage Housing Action Coalition.
Chicago resident Patrick Shutt, and former CEO of Global Capacity, and his partner and Downers Grove resident Dan Kardatzke, former CFO of Global Capacity, are launching their services, including executive advisory, capital services and business development at Chicago-based Durham & Black LLC, an advisory firm specializing in the technology and telecommunications markets. ... Co-founder and longtime Elementary Director Becky Bewersdorf will be stepping down in June after 27 years of leading Naperville tutoring firm West suburban Educational Associates. Camille Jones, co-founder and secondary director since 1987, will take over. Also, the firm welcomes new directors Jennifer Bredberg and Diane Nelson.
Jeanne and David Buddingh of Naperville-based Buddingh & Associates was chosen to re-brand AIRbaud Inc. to Surf Air Wireless. ... Wilmette resident Mindy Mercaldo is the new Chicago market president of Citibank. She's also the Illinois Retail president. ... Mike McNeive, vice president of JSQ Commercial of Hinsdale, said the firm recently broke ground on two multifamily development projects, one in Houston, Texas, and the other in Indianapolis, Ind. The projects are part of JSQ's $36.5 million multifamily development fund, which is a national strategy in conjunction with Watermark Residential and Thompson Thrift Construction, both of Indiana.
Lake Forest resident Kiran Paruchuru joined the business services team at Baird, an investment banking, private equity, wealth and asset management firm in Chicago. ... Certified distressed property expert Bill Baker, a broker with Coldwell Banker in Arlington Heights, offers his 26 years of real estate experience to simplify the short sale process for homeowners. ... Pam Salomone is the new communications and marketing manager for the St. Charles Public Library. ... Breast surgeon/oncologist Tara Breslin was named medical director of the breast care program at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital and has joined the staff of Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation.
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